Monday, October 15, 2007

Namibia Update: SWAPO Youth Hold CC Meeting; US Firm Ousted For Recruiting Mercenaries

Swapo Youth Warned Against 'Many Enemies'

The Namibian (Windhoek)
15 October 2007
By Christof Maletsky

New leaders of the Swapo Youth League held their first Central Committee meeting in Windhoek on Saturday, where they reviewed resolutions taken at the last congress and elected nine members to the National Executive Committee (NEC).

The NEC consists of the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and nine other members. The two are also part of the Central Committee, which is composed of 30 members and 13 regional secretaries of the youth league. Saturday's meeting was officially opened by party President Sam Nujoma, who reminded the youth that they had taken an oath of allegiance to defend, under any circumstances, the secrets of the party and the principles of national unity and independence.

"Leadership, in your instance, goes with the responsibility to ensure that the Swapo party is jealously protected to ward off misguided elements that are working day and night to destroy our party," Nujoma said. He told them to resist temptations that could destroy the party. "Without party discipline you become an easy target of the enemy.

The reactionary elements which you are seeing and hearing today have lost discipline, focus and have embarked upon activities that are contrary to the interests of the party and our national interests," Namibia's founding President said.

He said the "enemies of the revolution" would continue to mislead some of the youth to serve their interests and there was a need for vigilance.

One example Nujoma gave was the recent attempt by an American company to recruit former freedom fighters for work in Iraq.

Nujoma applauded Cabinet's decision to close the company down and declare the owners persona non grata.

"We must remember that Iraq and Afghanistan supported Swapo during the liberation struggle," he said.

Elijah Ngurare, Secretary of the Youth League, said the youth saluted Nujoma for his bravery and vowed to follow in his footsteps.

"There is no room for those who want to disrupt peace.

We can repeat it until even the second coming of Jesus. childWho dares to touch our president shall meet the wrath of the youth," Ngurare said.

He was referring to the National Society for Human Rights' submission to the International Criminal Court to hold Nujoma accountable for the disappearance of many people during the liberation struggle and shortly after Independence.

As a result of statements Ngurare had made earlier, the NSHR has laid a charge of sedition against him.

On Saturday, Ngurare told The Namibian that his lawyers had already given notice that they would defend him.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - Web posted at 6:38:16 GMT

Govt shuts down US firm

The Namibian

TWO American citizens involved in a paramilitary security company who wanted to recruit about 4 000 Namibians to work in Iraq and Afghanistan to guard US military bases were deported over the weekend after Government shut down their newly established business.

Announcing the drastic step at a hastily convened media briefing late Friday afternoon, Information Minster Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the Government Security Committee met on Thursday and recommended the permanent closure of Special Operations Consulting - Security Management Group (SOC-SMG) in Namibia.

"Cabinet directed the Security Committee to deal with the issue", the Information Minister said.

The US-based outfit registered a Namibian branch with the Registrar of Companies just three weeks ago.

It made newspaper headlines in Namibia ten days ago with its scheme to recruit Namibians with a police, military or security background to perform security-guard services in war-torn countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan where the US has military bases.

"Paul Grimes, Country Representative of SOC-SMG, and Frederic Piry, Chief of Operations of SOC-SMG, have been declared prohibited immigrants and served with deportation orders on Friday, 12 October 2007," the Minister announced.

"The Security Commission found that the involvement of Namibian nationals in such armed conflicts has serious short- and long-term national security implications on the interests of Namibia at home and abroad," Nandi-Ndaitwah added.

Immediately after news reports in Namibia on the plans of SOC-SMG, the Information Ministry issued a statement saying it had not received any official request from SOC-SMG for Namibians to serve as security guards in war-torn countries.

The Ministry said further that in terms of Article 4(8)(b) of the Constitution, Namibians are not allowed to get involved in the military or security forces of other countries without the written permission of the Namibian Government.

In the same vein, the Defence Act of 2002 criminalises the involvement of Namibians in the military, reserve or any auxiliary force of any country without the written permission of the Defence Minister as an offence punishable with a fine, prison service or both.

"The involvement of the USA in Iraq has never been sanctioned or supported through any international agreement and can thus not be supported by Namibia," Minister Nandi-Ndaitwah outlined the Namibian Government's decision.

The Namibian has reliably established that the two American men have already left the country.

Earlier last week, Grimes told reporters that he had the blessings of the ministries of Labour, Trade and Safety and Security to recruit Namibians at about US$650 (about N$4 250) per month.

"These three ministries did not have any problems," he said.

Grimes also recruited Alex Kamwi, a committee member of the controversial Namibia Ex-freedom Fighters/War Veterans Association, as a consultant.

The Association issued a statement on Thursday saying it distanced itself from the recruitment drive of SOC-SMG.

"We are totally opposed to recruiting Namibian ex-combatants and any other Namibians to go and guard US installations," said Ruusa Malulu, who chairs the Association.

Kamwi's consultancy job for SOC-SMG was in his private capacity and not on behalf of the Association, she said.

"Our Association does not foresee any conflict of interest (regarding Kamwi's consultancy work)," according to Malulu.

Kamwi could to be contacted over the weekend, as his mobile phone remained switched off.

When Grimes was contacted on Friday night, he said: "This (deportation) is a terrible thing to do," and put the phone down.

SOC-SMG came under the spotlight in recent months when some of its 1 500 Ugandan security guards were deported from Iraq and Afghanistan due to allegations of drug smuggling.

Others were sent home by the company for lack of discipline, not following orders and for being pregnant.

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